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Braves' Smoltz outpitches Santana

April 07, 2008|From the Associated Press

ATLANTA -- John Smoltz is back -- and so is that pesky knot behind his shoulder.

Smoltz pitched five scoreless innings, Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer and the Atlanta Braves beat Johan Santana and the New York Mets, 3-1, on Sunday to complete a two-game sweep of the rain-shortened series.

Santana (1-1) gave up only one run in seven innings, but Teixeira's eighth-inning drive against Aaron Heilman gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead.

Smoltz (1-0) was making his first start after opening the season on the disabled list because of tightness in the back of his right shoulder. He again felt a knot in the trapezius muscle and left the game after giving up only two hits and two walks.

"It's all right. I just didn't want to take a chance," said Smoltz, who struck out six. "This is my first test. I didn't fail it."

Braves Manager Bobby Cox said he was confident Smoltz would make his next start.

"It is an important game, but it is [Smoltz's] first game of the year," Cox said. "We'll see what happens. He'll make his next start."

Santana, making his first start at Turner Field, gave up seven hits and struck out three.

"We knew it would be a tough game," Mets Manager Willie Randolph said. "I thought Santana threw very well too. He kept us in the game."

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